For those of you are waiting for me to stop musing on Italians and start posting photos, here are a few.
First is free Sunday at the Vatican. While typically you wouldn’t be able to drag me kicking and screaming to the Vatican on a day like free Sunday because . . . well, its free, so every Italian who has ever thought they should get to the Vatican goes; its Sunday, so you can combine a visit to the museums with seeing the Pope make his bi-weekly appearance; and its the Vatican, the tourist mecca of Rome, where there seems to be no ‘maximum capacity’ in any room and most Europeans don’t have the same idea of ‘personal space’ that Americans do. However, if you are German, and are offering to buy me a cappuccino before, gelato after, and in between give me the German take on Italians, I’m sold.
But, rather than take pictures of the art, I took pictures of the people looking at the art. There is a famous photographer who does this. Troy if you are reading this, please remind me of his name.
By the way, if you are thinking the woman in the front is me after six weeks of eating gelato, its not, I was taking the picture.
The second photo is the back of the Pantheon. This is my favorite part of the Pantheon because it still has the marble column and decoration that would have covered the building until Renaissance and Baroque architects and builders started using it and the rest of the ancient Roman monuments in town as quarries.
The third picture is a chapel in the church of San Pietro in Montorio on the Janiculum Hill The Chapel was painted by an artist named Sebastiano del Piombo, who originally hailed from Venice but came to Rome in the early 1500s. He became friends with Michelangelo. At some point, one of the two artists decided that they should combine Michelangelo’s design abilities with Sebastiano’s sense of color and challenge the reigning ‘it-boy’ of the Renaissance art world, Raphael. One of their collaborative projects was this chapel representing the Flagellation of Christ flanked by Saints Peter and Francis and a Transfiguration above, for which Michelangelo is said to have provided the drawing for the Christ being flagellated (hence the burly figure reminiscent of those on the Sistine Chapel ceiling).
I had never seen this fresco in person until a friend and I wandered into the church the other day. Its a hard chapel to photograph because its shallow, there’s no light, and there was a window directly across with the afternoon sun beaming into my shot. But, here it is anyway.